Download.7.27.10 069Think I'm talking about weight and exercise? You aren't alone. Usually when we talk about fitness, we are talking about weight, weights, BMI, etc. If you google "fitness" you'll get a host of places and kinds of exercises that will make you "fit." But as we get older, physical fitness takes on a whole new meaning. And "physical" is only one part of fitness.

So this month we'll be looking at other parts of fitness: Financial, Relationship, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual. But just so you don't feel "cheated" that I didn't say anything about physical fitness, let's talk about Functional Fitness.

Many people feel fit if they run a few miles a day, play sports aggressively, and have tight muscles. Unfortunately, their "fitness" prohibits them from functioning as effectively as they would like. Physical exercise is awesome. I walk regularly, dance and work out with weights but that's not enough for anyone - especially over age 40. However unlike when you were twenty or thirty, fitness that doesn't support your everyday functionality is bad for you.

My spouse, Joseph, is a muscle therapist. He sees clients regularly who do all that "fitness stuff" and are in constant pain. Functional Fitness includes cardiovascular, muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition.

One of those Joseph's clients is a long-time hockey player. He recently went to the doctor because he wasn't feeling well. There was no good prognosis. So he endured a month of stress while having a battery of tests. Happily there wasn't anything seriously wrong. The main problem was a lack of functional fitness; he had a stiff neck...which is how he ended up on Joseph's massage table. The doctor told him to stop playing hockey and beating up his body. And maybe he will...but probably not. And so he'll probably be a client of Joseph's for a long time.

Since that mindset is fairly common in Joseph's practice, Joseph developed and is just beginning a new program based on Functional Fitness. He calls it "BAM" = Balance - Assessment - Movement. It incorporates the tenets of functional fitness. Here's a good article by "the lazy runner" about functional fitness.

We'll talk more about other kinds of fitness another day. But for today, enjoy these last few days of summer!

Happy Labor Day!